Climate, energy and transport in Germany's coalition treaty

Concluding weeks of intensive negotiations, Germany's would-be government partners have agreed on a coalition treaty. The Clean Energy Wire presents excerpts on climate, energy and transport from the agreement between Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives (CDU/CSU) and the Social Democrats (SPD). [Updates final version of coalition agreement from 7 February]

The conservative CDU/CSU alliance and the SPD have governed Germany since 2013. Source:CLEW

Find the coalition treaty in German here.

[For first reactions from NGOs, business associations, and the media, see our article Reactions to Germany's government coalition treaty.]


Climate Protection


  • Commit to “national, European, and Paris Climate Agreement climate protection goals for 2020, 2030, and 2050 for all sectors”
  • Work towards becoming largely greenhouse gas neutral “no later than in the second half of the century”
  • Fully implement the Climate Action Programme 2020, as well as the Climate Action Plan 2050
  • National target of reducing emissions by 40 percent by 2020 compared to 1990 levels watered down to lowering emissions “as much as possible”/"as fast as possible"; internationally binding 2030 target of reducing emissions by 55 percent to be reached “by all means”
  • Introduce law in 2019 to ensure that the 2030 sectoral climate targets are reached

Coal exit

  • Establish a special commission on “growth, structural economic change and employment”, bringing together policymakers, industry representatives, environmental organisations, and labour unions, to draft an action programme by the end of 2018, which should include:
    • measures to close the gap to the 2020 goal “as much as possible,” and to make the 2030 energy sector goal “reliably achievable”
    • a plan “for the gradual reduction and phase-out of coal-fired power production, including an end date, and the necessary accompanying legal, economic, social, and structural policy measures"
    • financial support for the necessary structural changes in affected regions, and a fund financed through the federal budget
  • The commission’s findings will feed into the law on climate protection
  • At the same time, a similar process is planned for the transport and buildings sector

CO2 price/ETS

  • Strengthen the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) as the “leading principle” for CO2 pricing. "Our goal is a CO2 pricing system that aims at being effective globally, but at least encompasses the G20 states.”

Climate finance

  • “Acknowledge Germany’s responsibility for international climate protection,” and increase official development aid contributions to assist other states


  • Continue ”close cooperation” with France in implementing the Paris Climate Agreement and the commitments made at the 2017 'One Planet Summit' 
  • Establish a 'support programme for decarbonisation' for the industry to secure Germany’s position as an industrial location, strengthen the international competitiveness of German companies, and create future-proof jobs in Germany. "To reach the ambitious environmental and climate protection policy targets, we need modern products and processes."



Industry / Business

  • “Guarantee the international competitiveness” of energy-intensive industries to maintain “integrated value chains” and prevent carbon leakage
  • Take advantage of “Germany’s leading position in the energy transition” to bolster the international competitiveness of German companies
  • Develop bilateral energy partnerships “with the aim of facilitating market access for German industry and advancing the global energy transition”
  • Align energy research more with energy transition
  • Provide R&D funding for low-carbon industry processes and the circular CO2 economy


  • Continue with the “goal-oriented and efficient expansion of renewable energy sources that is synchronised with grid capacity and increasingly geared towards market mechanisms”
  • “Strive to achieve a share of 65 percent renewables by 2030” [if this refers to the commonly used definition of “share of power consumption,” it would bring forward the current 2040 target by ten years]
  • “Substantially increase” renewables expansion to cover additional power demand in the transport, construction, and industry sectors
  • Implement “special auctions” to save up to ten million tonnes of CO2 by 2020: 4GW onshore wind power, 4GW solar power, as well as “one offshore wind power contribution” in 2018 and 2019, “provided that the grid’s carrying capacity is sufficient”
  • Create an offshore wind power “test field” to conduct research on potential for energy transition
  • Improve the “balance of interests” between the renewable energy industry, environmental protection, and the local residents in onshore wind power expansion
  • Create better opportunities for municipalities and citizens to participate in the construction and operation of renewable energy installations
  • only projects that have been greenlit under immission protection regulation will be able to take part in the renewables auctions


  • Compile an “ambitious plan containing measures to optimise existing grid infrastructure and accelerate expansion”
  • Use digitalisation and other technologies, and improve cooperation between grid operators in order to make better use of the existing grids
  • Encourage the acceptance of grid expansion and accelerate construction by installing underground cables “at sensitive locations, if technically feasible”
  • Introduce annual “stress tests” of the grid by 2019 to identify bottlenecks
  • Examine the possibility of offering a financial stake to affected land owners in profits from grid expansion; "recurring payments may be an option"


  • Develop an “ambitious and cross-sectoral energy efficiency strategy” with the aim of reducing energy consumption by 50 percent by 2050
  • Stabilise financial support for efficiency measures at current level  
  • Continue to promote energy efficiency and the use of renewable energies in the buildings sector. "Here, we continue to apply the principles of profitability, technology-neutrality, simpleness, and voluntary participation."
  • Introduce tax privileges for the energy efficient retrofitting of buildings


  • Reform grid fees to allocate costs based on a “causative principle”
  • Monitor affordability and security of energy supply on a regular basis


  • Encourage private investment in storage technology by gearing renewable energy sources more towards market principles
  • Facilitate the electrification of the heating, mobility, and electricity sectors (sector coupling) in combination with storage technology
  • Establish a Fraunhofer research institute for storage technology
  • Assess if the premises of power plants that are no longer needed can be used as large thermal storage plants


  • Make Germany a location for liquefied natural gas (LNG) infrastructure

Nuclear power

  • "We do not want EU support for new nuclear power plants. We want to end all state fund stakes in nuclear power plants abroad."
  • "We are committed to the 2031 deadline for finding a final repository."



Mobility and environment

  • Appoint a commission including actors from politics, business, environmental associations, unions, as well as the affected states and regions to work out a strategy by early 2019 on the “future of affordable and sustainable transport,” including a reliable timeframe
  • In the field of transport policy, honour the commitments to the Paris Climate Agreement and to Germany’s Climate Action Plan 2050. “We want to reach the Paris climate targets, while also taking social considerations into account, safeguarding industry’s competitiveness, and securing affordable mobility.”
  • The above task will require “support for electric mobility, public and rail transport, and more efficient and cleaner combustion engines, including retrofitting, and the continuation of funds from the diesel summit.
  • Increase efforts to improve air quality in inner cities. “We want to avoid driving bans and increase air quality.” Use the “Sustainable Mobility for the City” fund to support mobility plans aimed at reducing pollution
  • Reduce pollutant emissions from road transport at their source. “This includes – if technically possible and economically justifiable – technical improvements of vehicles in the existing fleet.” A decision on steps to further reduce NOx emissions – “including technical retrofitting” – will be taken in 2018 “on the basis of the results of current research on hardware retrofitting options by the ‘Technical Retrofitting’ working group and the other ‘diesel summit’ decisions, as well as based on consideration of all legal questions regarding registration, guarantees, and the bearing of costs, cognisant of the relevant court decisions and the decisions on the European level.”
  • Establish a monitoring and sanctions system for carmakers to ensure that the vehicles in circulation today comply with emission limit values. “We will promote the establishment of a German Institute for Consumption and Emission Measurement (DIVEM).”
  • Change the regulatory framework to enable states, cities, and municipalities to introduce binding requirements and emission limits for commercial passenger transport (buses, taxis, rental cars, car-sharing vehicles, courier/parcel services)
  • Introduce a reduced tax rate for company e-cars and hybrids (0.5 percent of domestic list price)
  • Make the switch to low-emission vehicles easier for taxis and light commercial carrier services – not preferring any one technology and within the bounds of the current budget plans – by increasing the buyer’s premium for e-cars and introducing other support instruments
  • “We want to significantly advance electric mobility (battery, hydrogen, and fuel cell) in Germany, extend the current support measures where necessary beyond 2020, and complement them. We will intensify the roll-out of a nationwide charging and refuelling infrastructure. The target is to make at least an additional 100,000 charging points available by 2020, of which at least a third should be fast charging stations (DC). In addition, we want to support the construction of private charging stations. […] We will legally facilitate the installation of charging points for electric vehicles of tenants and apartment owners.”
  • Introduce a deduction regime for commercially used electric vehicles; extend support for the retrofitting or purchase of electric taxis, buses, trucks, and car-sharing
  • Transform the existing National Platform for Electric Mobility into a platform called  “future of mobility,” which will deal with the development of the car industry. “Battery cell production is an important economic and industrial policy area for Germany and Europe. We will support industry in establishing the entire electric mobility value chain in Germany and Europe.”
  • Increase the profitability of electric buses by exempting them from the EEG surcharge
  • Continue the “National Innovation Programme Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology”; change regulation to enable the use of ‘green hydrogen’ and hydrogen from industrial processes as fuel or for the generation of conventional fuels (e.g. natural gas)

Rail transport

  • Electrify 70 percent of the country’s rail network by 2025
  • “For us as owners of Deutsche Bahn AG, the focus is not on maximising profit, but on the appropriate maximisation of rail transport.”
  • “We want public transport users to be able to ride throughout Germany and across transport associations with a single electronic ticket.”


  • Maintain and strengthen national technology-neutral initiatives for alternative drives and energy sources in shipping and in ports (LNG, hydrogen/fuel cell, methanol, e-mobility)
  • “In ports, this includes decreasing the EEG surcharge and using energy efficient vehicles. We will supply shore power nationwide in German ports.”

Research and development

  • Federally supported mobility research will pay attention to the climate policy aspects in the future
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